Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution


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the effect of diplomacy on conflict resolution and peace making


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Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution Dr. Oyewole O. Sarumi

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Introduction  Diplomacy lies at the heart of international relations. It can be considered the master- mechanism of international affairs a system for managing relations between states. Diplomacy acts like the control tower of an international airport that directs and controls the flow of traffic and maintains the order through its radar system its regulations and its instructions.

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 The diplomatic system works in the same way: it orders the international system and allows international society to function more or less smoothly through a system of laws and norms of behavior.  The international society is bound together by diplomacy that maintains order prevents collisions and permits the conduct of business and affairs between states.

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Diplomacy Diplomatic  The words “diplomacy” and “diplomatic” are used in several different meanings. In fact the words have been characterized as “monstrously imprecise” simultaneously signifying “content character method manner and art” Marshall 1990: 7.

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 According to Sir Peter Marshall 1990 at least six related meanings may be distinguished all of which have a bearing on conflict resolution.

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 First “diplomacy” sometimes refers to the content of foreign affairs as a whole. Diplomacy then becomes more or less synonymous with foreign policy. Several books and articles portraying the diplomacy of countries X Y and Z are indicative of this usage.

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 Second “diplomacy” may connote the conduct of foreign policy. The word is then used as a synonym of statecraft. Henry Kissinger’s book Diplomacy 1994 which draws on his experiences as US Secretary of State is a case in point.

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 A third connotation of diplomacy focuses on the management of international relations by negotiation.  The Oxford English Dictionary defines diplomacy as “the conduct of international relations by negotiation.” Adam Watson 1982: 33 offers a similar definition as “negotiations between political entities which acknowledge each other’s independence.”

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 Fourth diplomacy may be understood as the use of diplomats organized in a diplomatic service. This usage is more time-bound as the organization and professionalization of diplomacy is rather recent.

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 Fifth diplomacy and especially the adjective “diplomatic” often refers to the manner in which relations are conducted. To be diplomatic means to use “intelligence and tact” to quote Ernest Satow’s 1979:3 classical formulation.

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Sixth…..  A related conceptualization is to understand diplomacy more specifically as the art or skills of professional diplomats. The craftsmanship of diplomats includes shared norms and rituals as well as a shared language characterized by courtesy non-redundancy and constructive ambiguity.

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 To be sure all these different conceptualizations can be related to conflict resolution. Diplomatic efforts to resolve international conflicts constitute integral parts of the foreign policy and statecraft of the involved states they invariably include negotiations they engage professional diplomats and rely on their mores and skills.

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 When related to conflict resolution diplomacy is perhaps most commonly understood as diplomatic practice. As noted negotiation is the most prominent practice associated with diplomacy with mediation as an important subcategory.

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Definition of Conflict “Conflict is an expressed struggle between at least two interdependent parties who perceive incompatible goals scare resources and interference from others in achieving their goals.”

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Burton – Human Needs  Burton says that conflict stems from unsatisfied human needs  In conflict people represent their interests but not their underlying needs however they will use power and coercion to meet those needs

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Galtung – Structural Violence  Inequalities embedded in the social structure lead to violence and conflict.  Unless those underlying inequalities are solved then violence will continue  Prime example is lower-class people dying because health care resources are granted to the upper-class

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Coser – social function of conflict  Conflict is not always dysfunctional for the relationship within which it occurs often conflict is necessary to maintain such a relationship  Conflict not only generates new norms new institutions…it may be said to be stimulating directly in the economic and technological realm.  If Coser is correct and conflict serves a socially useful function then should conflicts be resolved

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Game Theory  Zero-sum game  fixed pie  People assume that they can either win or lose.  If I win a quarter they lose a quarter – the sum is always zero  you give up nothing because it means the other side wins what you give up

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HISTORY  Social movements:  Gandhi and nonviolence – movement to free India of British Rule  Women’s suffrage movement 1848-1920  Lech Walesa and Solidarity in Poland  Nelson Mandela/Desmond Tutu and the movement against Apartheid in South Africa  Based off each other and off Thoreau’s essay “Civil Disobedience.”

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HISTORY  Thoreau said:  Two times when open rebellion is justified:  when the injustice is no longer occasional but a major characteristic  when the machine government demands that people cooperate with injustice.  Thoreau declared that “If the government requires you to be the agent of injustice to another then I say break the law.”

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Escalation of conflict  Conflicts escalate in both scope and severity  Conflicts can escalate constructively or destructively

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Destructive Conflict  Characteristics of destructive escalation  parties become less flexible  goals are narrowly defined and rigid  primary goal is to defeat the other party – assumes the other side must lose  becomes protracted and intractable  Characteristics of destructive agreements  damages relationships  promotes inequality power imbalance  outcomes are imposed unilaterally  often requires redress or revenge  outcomes are often oppressive to one side  DOES NOT SOLVE UNDERLYING CAUSES

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Constructive Conflicts  Constructive conflicts are not the absence of destructive elements  Characteristics of constructive escalation  interaction changes often  flexible goals/objectives  guided by belief that all parties can win  Characteristics of constructive agreements  strengthens relationships  restores equality  recognizing the other parties as legitimate  using benefits/promises rather than threats/coercion  find mutually acceptable solutions  Conflict is actually solved

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Conflict Continuum  Negotiation is at the bottom because negotiation theory is the base for all forms of conflict resolution mediation arbitration even diplomacy

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Negotiation Theory  Positional Negotiation  Positions are the stance you take and your proposed solution • “I want 3000 for this car” • “Stop taking my stuff – you have to ask me first.”  Positions are your statements of what you’re willing to give  Positional negotiation starts with two positions and attempts to find a middle ground between them or barter until one party gives in to the other position.

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Positional Bargaining  Hard vs. Soft positional bargaining  Hard bargaining – make threats damage relationships demand concessions from other party goal is victory search for one answer you will accept apply pressure  Soft bargaining – you get taken sacrifice your needs for relationship trust other party disclose your bottom line try to win friends search for an answer they will accept

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Principled Negotiation  1. Separate People from Problems  2. Focus on Interests not Positions  Topic interests/goals  Relational interests/goals  Identity or Face interests/goals  Process interests/goals  3. Invent solutions for mutual gain  4. Insist the result be based on some objective criteria

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Separate people from problems  Negotiators are people first  every party in a negotiation has emotions and ego and can have misunderstandings  The relationship needs to be taken into account in all negotiations  Perceptions – does truth matter  understand their perceptions to come up with better solutions  Emotions – the higher the stakes the higher emotions run  Communication – all negotiations have misunderstandings

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Negotiation Interests not Positions  Positions are something you decided on – what you’re demanding as a solution  Interests are what got you there  For every interest there are several positions you could take and vice-versa  To negotiate interests identify them  ask why what are they getting from position  ask why not what are they not getting  most common interests are needs-based

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Types of Interests  T.R.I.P.  Topic relational identity/face process  Topic and Process interests  external negotiable substantive tangible expressed  Relational and Identity interests  internal non-negotiable usually not expressed aloud intangible values  DRIVE all conflicts

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Topic and Process Goals  Topic interests:  what do we want what are we fighting for  either both parties have the same goal or both parties have opposing goals  Process interests:  what communication process will we use  process goals appear when low-power party cries unjust process or unfair fight

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Relational Goals  Who are we to each other  How will we be treated  How much influence do we have over the other  How interdependent are we  At the heart of all conflicts but rarely articulated  Relational goals must be met in order to solve underlying issues

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Face or Identity Goals  Who am I in this conflict  You can save or damage your own face or the other’s face  If face is destroyed it must be restored saved before any other conflict goal can be addressed  When face is damaged:  people dig into their positions  creates losers who “get back at you” next time

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Ways to restore face  How we save our own face:  rationalize actions  claim unjust intimidation  dig into our position  damage other’s face  How we save other’s face:  help increase their self-esteem  avoid giving orders or directives  listen carefully and legitimize their concerns  No one wants to look like the loser

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More about types of interests  Interests overlap  all conflicts have multiple goals  relational and identity goals are always present  different goals have primacy  parties in conflict rarely have same goals with same primacy  Interests are disguised  relational and face goals are presented as topic and process goals

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More about interests  Goals/Interests change  goals change as they’re met or as they’re frustrated  Prospective goals  what you want as you’re preparing  Transactive goals  goals that emerge during the conflict • shift as negotiation occurs • can become destructive esp. face • can be sacrificed esp. topic  Retrospective goals – set up for next time

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Invent Solutions for Mutual Gain  Easiest solution in a negotiation is to split the difference between the positions  In order to have more options to choose from you need more solutions  Brainstorm  Broaden your options • shuttle between the specific and the general • invent options of differing strength • change scope  Make a bigger pie game theory • look for shared interests and goals • split differing interests  Turn it into reaching a common goal

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Insist on Objective Criteria  Use a “Fair Standard”  market value such as “blue-book value”  professional standards  precedent  scientific judgment  Use a “Fair Procedure”  Flip a coin lottery use a 3 rd party “I divide you choose”  Agree to the principles first  Not a way to strengthen your position – a fair standard must be fair for both parties

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Diplomatic Norms and Practices Facilitating Conflict Resolution

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 As an international institution diplomacy has throughout the ages rested on certain fundamental norms and provided more or less detailed rules of appropriate procedures in the intercourse between states. Some of these norms and rules have remained unchanged over long periods of time others have changed and evolved in response to changing circumstances.

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 Whereas most of the diplomatic normative framework facilitates conflict resolution it should be noted that some norms rules and practices may contribute to interstate conflicts.

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Coexistence and Reciprocity  Diplomacy rests on a norm of coexistence allowing states “to live and let live.” In the words of Garrett Mattingly “unless people realize that they have to live together indefinitely in spite of their differences diplomats have no place to stand.”  Acceptance of coexistence reflects the realization on the part of states that they are mutually dependent to a significant degree.

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 Reciprocity appears to be another core normative theme running through all diplomatic practice.  Reciprocity implies that exchanges should be of roughly equivalent values. Reciprocity entails contingency. Reciprocal behavior returns good for good ill for ill.  Specific reciprocity  Diffuse reciprocity

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 Specific reciprocity partners exchange items of equivalent value in a delimited time sequence.  Diffuse reciprocity implies:  Less precise definitions of equivalence and less narrowly bounded time sequences.  That the parties do not insist on immediate and exactly equivalent reciprocation of each and every concession on an appropriate “quid” for every “quo”.

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 Successful conflict resolution seems to require at least a semblance of reciprocity.  As Glenn Snyder and Paul Diesing 1977: 19 noted in their pioneering study of 16 major twentieth-century international crises it is important “whether the loser is ‘driven to the wall’ and humiliated or given some face-saving concession that can be presented as a ‘compromise’.” And all compromises presuppose reciprocity.

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Open Communication Channels and a Shared Language  Keeping communication channels open is another aspect of diplomacy that facilitates conflict resolution.  “Communication is to diplomacy as blood is to the human body. Whenever communication ceases the body of international politics the process of diplomacy is dead and the result is violent conflict or atrophy”

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 “The pristine form of diplomacy” argues Hedley Bull 1977: 164 “is the transmitting of messages between one independent political community and another.”  In short diplomats are messengers and diplomacy involves communication between states.

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 Mediators play a central role in keeping communication channels open ongoing and undistorted between mistrusting parties who attempt to settle a conflict. In these situations mediators may for instance act as go-between facilitate back-channel negotiations supply additional information and identify common problems that may inhibit deadlocks and enhance communication.

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 Most importantly diplomatic communication is facilitated by a shared language with mutually understood phrases and expressions as well as rules governing the external form of intercourse.

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 The institutionalization of diplomacy has involved the development of a common language with ritualized phrases which have allowed cross-cultural communication with a minimum of unnecessary misunderstanding.  Courtesy non-redundancy and constructive ambiguity are prominent features of diplomatic language.

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 The principle of non-redundancy means that “a diplomatic communication should say neither too much nor too little because every word nuance of omission will be meticulously studied for any shade of meaning” Cohen 1981: 32.

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 Constructive ambiguity avoids premature closure of options.  Circumlocution such as understatements and loaded omissions permits controversial things to be said in a way understood in the diplomatic community but without needless provocation.

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Commitment to Peace  Diplomats are commonly described as sharing a commitment to peace or international order. Diplomat-cum-scholar Adam Watson 1982 for example argues that diplomats throughout history have been guided not only by raison d’état but also by raison de système.

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 One author refers to diplomacy as “the angels’ game” arguing that diplomats “regardless of nationality have an enduring obligation to their guild and to each other to work always toward that most elusive of human objectives  a just universal and stable peace”

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Diplomatic Immunity  The principle of diplomatic immunity represents another facilitating norm insofar as it provides for unharmed contacts between diplomats of conflicting states.  With this must have come the realization that these negotiations could never reach a satisfactory conclusion if emissaries were killed and eaten.

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Diplomatic Norms and Practices Complicating Conflict Resolution

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Diplomatic Norms and Practices Complicating Conflict Resolution  Most diplomatic norms and practices facilitate conflict resolution. The principle of reciprocity as we have seen may contribute either to the resolution or aggravation of conflict. Other diplomatic norms and practices tend to render conflict resolution more difficult. Examples include precedence openness constructive ambiguity and diplomatic recognition.

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Precedence  Historically diplomatic notions of precedence have aggravated conflict resolution and in several cases contributed to conflict and violence. Yet this represents a problem that has eventually found a diplomatic solution.

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Openness  Wilson’s well-quoted statement about “open covenants openly arrived at” became the normative principle of a new and public diplomacy. These principles stemmed from a view that old diplomacy characterized by secrecy encouraged conspiracies and war.

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 It meant for instance that international negotiations should now be pursued openly and in public without private or secret understandings.  These assumptions were strengthened by the growing influence of media and public opinion which demanded an open and democratic diplomacy.

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Constructive Ambiguity  Another double-edged principle concerns constructive ambiguity. As discussed above it may facilitate conflict resolution. Yet it may also be obstructive.  Constructive ambiguity is often used to overcome deadlocks by avoiding and postponing detailed interpretations until implementation. The basic rationale is that the parties will be committed to a signed agreement.

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Recognition  Diplomatic recognition in terms of accepting other actors as more or less peers and treating them accordingly is equally essential to personal and international relations. There is however one significant difference between the two.

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 Whereas the development of relations precedes reciprocal recognition between individuals recognition is a prior condition for official relations to develop at the international level.  Recognition is a prerequisite for reciprocal exchanges in international relations.

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 Diplomacy has become a more complex practice involving many different actors. Yet it has also shown its resilience and adaptability to new circumstances.  In cases of complex political emergencies a whole range of diplomatic tools are required and performed by states and non- state actors alike such as multilateral and bilateral diplomacy peacekeeping economic and humanitarian aid to assist civilian reconstruction and peacemaking.

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 Most diplomats recognize the need of multiple tracks of diplomacy. Hocking 2004 argues that diplomacy should rather be seen as a “boundary-spanning” activity than operating within clearly delineated border as diplomats most often work within shifting and reconstituting boundaries.

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Positive Peace and Multi-Track Diplomacy

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Positive Peace and Multi-Track Diplomacy  The limitations of linear diplomacy and the rationalist discourse has prompted the peace research community to develop alternative methods for conflict resolution.  The key to this approach is the creation of conditions of "positive peace."

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 The contemporary conflict arena is diffuse and multi-centered so the path towards positive peace must be designed along a number of multiple tracks.  Different types of action must be used to address these different dimensions. We can identify five layers: the personal the local the national the regional and the international.

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 Different actors intervening at appropriate intervals and using relevant tools are required to construct a cohesive network for preventive action and conflict resolution.

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 The approach must be based on the notion of complementarity and should feature well-founded development programs which ensure good governance and the development of institutions and mechanisms designed to prevent conflicts.

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Process to develop Positive Peace  There are a number of steps which are required for designing this process.  1. Understanding Root Causes: Understanding and conceptualizing the root causes of a given conflict.

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2. Ownership of the peace process:  Empowerment of local actors so that they are the primary architects owners and long-term stakeholders in the peace process.

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3. Identifying all the actors:  Accurate identification is necessary of all significant actors - the visible and articulate elites as well as the less visible less articulate but still influential opinion shapers and leaders within a given society.

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4. Identifying facilitators:  Accurate identification of appropriate people for designing the peace process in other words who has the background knowledge analytic and mediation skills to make a positive contribution to the design process.

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5. Sustaining the effort:  Adequate investment of financial resources patience and a sustained Evaluating success and failure: An evaluation and assessment of the process looking for areas of success and re- examination of failures.

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6. Strategic constituencies:  Identification of strategic constituencies to sustain peace processes over time and which include both the like-minded and the unlike-minded. Such a cross-sectorial coalition of forces could form strategic alliances focused on particular conflicts.

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 At the heart of this design is the notion of conflict prevention. Preventing conflicts must be seen as a priority while building structures of positive peace is by nature a pro-active process.

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The complexity in Conflict Arena  The answer to complexity in the conflict arena is the multi-track design which firstly reflects the different levels of conflict which need to be addressed and secondly the overall construction of complementarity. In this context eleven types of diplomacy can be identified:

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 1 Inter-governmental diplomacy such as the United Nations  2 Governmental peacemaking through official diplomacy such as the bilateral negotiations between the parties in the Middle East

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 3 Second track diplomacy using unofficial fora such as the secret Norwegian track negotiations which eventually led to the 1993 peace deal between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization PLO

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 4 Citizen diplomacy through private means this can come in many forms but one of the most successful illustration of this is in Someliland where tribal elders have used traditional kinship networks to resolve conflicts  5 Economic diplomacy through various donor organization

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 6 Peace diplomacy through religious organizations this not only encompasses the work of local churches and religious leaders but also projects established by international religious establishments such as the Quakers or the Italian-based Catholic lay community of Sant Egidio

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 7 Diplomacy through womens movements which both at a local and international level has helped mobilize women in the pursuit of conflict resolution  8 Communications diplomacy through the media has proved to be a particularly powerful tool in mobilizing public opinion and molding the perceptions of policymakers

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 9 Peace diplomacy through social movements is a broader form of the citizen diplomacy described above and examples of this may include the "peace zones" and "peace corridors" created by communities in places like Colombia and the Philippines or the work of the Community Relations Council CRC in Northern Ireland

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 10 Peace education through education and training is seen as addressing some of the root causes of conflicts projects such as the United Nations Education Scientific Cultural Organizations UNESCO "Program to Promote a Culture of Peace" and International Alters training seminars and workshops in the Near East Africa and Latin America are examples of this form of diplomacy

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 11 Creative diplomacy through artists and personalities from the world of entertainment such as "Live Aid" "Band Aid" and "Comic Relief."

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A Structured Response to Early Warning  The requirements of a multi-dimensional design to conflict resolution demand a structured response mechanism.  The failure of conflict management in recent years has been due in part to the relative lateness of the action employed.

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 Studies have illustrated that protracted social conflicts reflect a determinable cycle and each phase of the cycle offers an opportunity for a particular kind of intervention:

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 1 Conflict formation - Early warning  2 Conflict escalation - Crisis intervention  3 Conflict endurance - Empowerment and mediation  4 Conflict improvement - Negotiation /problem solving  5 Conflict transformation - New institutions and projects

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Conclusion  Track-one diplomacy is often supplemented with track-two diplomacy which refers to everything from citizen diplomacy pre-negotiation interactive problem solving to backchannel negotiation.

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 Track-two diplomacy is frequently used to resolve deep-rooted and complex identity- based conflicts and conducted by informal intermediaries such as NGOs academics and private citizens. They strive to create a non-judgmental non-coercive and supportive environment for conflict resolution.

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 Without governmental constraints it is assumed that such a framework will facilitate shared perceptions of fears and needs which may reframe conflict and generate mutual understanding and ultimately new ideas of conflict resolution Rothman1997.

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 Diplomacy remains a vital institution for effective conflict resolution even in a world where intra-state conflicts are not the only – or even the most serious – problems. At the same time diplomacy offers no panacea and there are diplomatic norms and practices that are not always conducive to conflict resolution.

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 Diplomacy in short is a perennial international institution that can be regarded as a necessary but not sufficient condition for successful conflict resolution.

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References Consulted  Christer Jönsson Karin Aggestam. Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution. Draft of chapter for SAGE Handbook on Conflict Resolution. Prepared for the NISA conference on “Power Vision and Order in World Politics” Odense 23-25 May 2007.  Christopher A. Leeds. “Managing Conflicts Across Cultures: Challenges To Practitioners”. Published in International Journal of Peace Studies retrieved on May 17 2015. Culled from http://www.gmu.edu/programs/icar/ijps/vol2_2/leeds.htm

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 Dr. Raymond Cohen. Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution. Culled from http://www.passia.org/publications/annual_semin ar_reports/pub_reports_no_101.htm  Multi-Track Diplomacy: and the Sustainable Route to Conflict Resolution. Article copyright by Cultural Survival Inc. From http://www.culturalsurvival.org/ourpublications/cs q/article/multi-track-diplomacy-and-sustainable- route-conflict-resolution

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